Service Dogs and Emotional Support Dogs/animals are protected under the ADA, and Fair Housing Authority.
That does not mean that everyone with a prescription can bring in a dog or any other animal, in spite of your no pet policy. There are rights and then there are responsibilities. Unfortunately there are people that claim they have rights, but refuse to take the responsibility.
Please be kind. People with disabilities, visible or invisible have struggles that you can not see. Harassment and discrimination are against the law and unnecessary.
You may require a letter from a medical or psychiatric provider stating they have a disability. They do not have to disclose their specific disability.
All applicants should pass the application and screening process. Prior rental history, background checks, credit check, personal references...
If someone tells you they have a Service Dog, that means that they have one or more disabilities, and their dog has been specifically trained to perform tasks that help with their disability. It also means their dog will not be aggressive, they will not growl or bark inappropriately. They will not only be house broken, they will only go potty when and where they are told to. Service Dogs are very costly animals. They have months to years of training. You will not see a Service Dog out running the streets without their owner. That does not mean they might not escape once in a while. It would not be a regular occurrence. These people have the right to use their dog in public. That means their handler would seldom leave without their dog.
Emotional Support dogs/animals are also covered by prescription. The person must have a specific disability. These animals only have rights to housing. They do not qualify for public access, so would typically remain in the residence during the day. This animal does not have to be a dog.
The landlord may not charge a fee or deposit for the use of a Service Dog or Emotional Support Dog/Animal. However if the animal does cause damage to the property, the tenant may be liable for those expenses.
Companion Animals/Pets: The person does not have a specific disability. Their dog/animal can be there simply to keep them from being alone. Even though there is an emotional benefit from this animal it is not covered under the Fair Housing Act.
These animals can not be considered a danger to others. They can not be aggressive, or unruly. If they bark excessively or otherwise disturb other tenants, are not housebroken, the person may qualify, but the animal may not.
Tenants are always responsible for any and all damages done, including by their dog. As a Landlord you have a right to protect your property from damage.
Not only does the ADA and Fair Housing protect your rights as a property owner. There are usually City, County, State ordinances that you can incorporate into your guidelines.
You can make written rules that comply with these ordinances and laws.
Example: (dog here means Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal specifically)
Anyone requesting the use of a Service Dog or Emotional Support Animal shall provide specific documentation as allowed by law.
All dogs/animals must be housebroken.
All dogs/animals must have proof of current rabies by documentation or local license.
All dogs/animals must be on a leash at all times, when outside of their housing. If caught running loose, they will be turned over to the local authority.
All dogs/animals must use the pet area only to go potty.
All poop must be picked up and properly disposed of.
No dogs/animals will be allowed to disturb other residents by excessive noise. If your dog is barking, we will assume there is an emergency and respond accordingly.
Aggressive dogs/animals will not be allowed. Snarling, growling, barking, snapping, and biting are all considered signs of aggression.
Dogs/animals may not damage the property. Owners will be held responsible for any and all damages done by their dog/animal.
All dogs/animals are to be kept clean and treated in a humane manner. All cases of abuse or neglect will be reported to the appropriate authorities.
Not every rental property is bound by these laws. The reasonable accommodation requirements of the Fair Housing Act does not apply to owner-occupied buildings that have four or fewer dwelling units, single family homes where the owner does not use a real estate agent to rent the property, they own less than three single family houses, housing owned by organizations or private clubs that are used for members, if it would impose an undue financial and administrative burden on the housing provider or it would fundamentally alter the nature of the provider's operations.
For tenant to get approval for reasonable accommodation, they must provide documentation that they have an appropriate disability according to ADA law. This documentation demonstrates that the landlord is enforcing their pet restrictions, and that the tenant has been granted reasonable accommodation in accordance with fair housing laws.
If you are concerned that an animal is causing damage to your property, you have a right to inspect your property, with appropriate notice.
Consult your attorney if there is any doubt about the laws or cases in your own jurisdiction.
By utilizing this service, I am intending to be legally bound hereby. I understand and agree and do hereby release from liability and to indemnify and hold harmless Heritage Service Dogs, and any of its employees or agents representing or related to this Program. This program involves a live animal. Animals by nature can be unpredictable. This release is for any and all liability for personal injuries (including death) and property losses or damage occasioned by, or in connection with any activities related to Heritage Service Dogs. I further agree to abide by all the rules and regulations promulgated by the ADA and, Heritage Service Dogs. The articles on this website contain the opinions of the author and are offered for educational purposes only. Nothing on this site is intended as legal, medical or veterinary advice or to provide answers to a specific situation. Heritage Service Dogs is not engaged in the practice of law or medicine and cannot render those professional services or advice. Always consult a competent professional.
All rights reserved. All information on this site has been created for the specific use of Heritage Service Dogs and itsí clients and shall not be shared or used for any other purpose without prior written authorization from HSD. None of the content shall be copied or distributed by any means mechanical or electronic without express prior written authorization from HSD. All logo's content and format are protected by copyright law. To the best of our knowledge all items are original or from public domain. If you have any questions regarding this site or itsí content please contact HSD.
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